Is your child reluctant to read books or study? One of the reasons could be that he or she may not be enjoying the process of learning. So, how do you raise kids who like to learn?
Doon school headmaster and author of How Your Child Can Win in Life Matthew Raggett shared some tips while talking to Pawan Ahluwalia, father to two girls. According to him, the two important factors that impact an individual’s development are being conscientious and secondly the ability to maintain good relationships with people. “Those are the things to give to a child,” he asserted.
Talking about conscientiousness, Raggett explained, “One of the things you’ve got to accept about conscientiousness is that you are being prepared to work for something later on or you are developing a habit of putting some time in now for something where the reward isn’t immediately obvious. That’s tough…because kids love rewards and parents also love praising kids. But praise doesn’t always lead you to the things you expect.” At the same time, it is important for parents and teachers to recognise a child’s efforts, he said.
‘If you don’t read, they won’t’
Raggett pointed out that it is almost “unrealistic” on the part of parents to think their child will turn out to be fantastic when they are not, while stressing on how children learn by following their parents. “If you don’t read, they won’t. If you want them to read, make sure they see you reading,” he said. Children otherwise find it difficult to navigate inconsistencies. “It makes them anxious sometimes and I know some of the kids have a hard time managing their lives at school (who) are those who have a hard time at home as well. They’ve got parents who unfortunately are not able to give them the time that they need. Time is the most valuable thing you can give as a parent.”
Talk about what you are reading
While reading with the child, parents need to get them to reflect or be critical by asking them simple questions. “If you invite your child to articulate whatever they are thinking, then you are giving them the chance to do something more with a book than just look at it,” he said.
Talk about choices
One of things that parents and children fail to do is to explicitly talk about choices with children, according to Raggett. “If I am behaving in a particular way…I might be hoping that my child imbibes or picks up on some sort of messaging. There’s a conversation that’s always worth having as well about ‘here’s why I made that choice’. Or you ask the child the question, ‘Why do you think we did that?’,” the author expressed.
Use technology but not just for entertainment
Technology can be used to enhance the process of learning, but that does not mean a book should be replaced by a laptop. Parents can share technology with children but also take out time to do other meaningful activities like reading together or playing games, said the author. “The habit of resorting to a device is a problem,” he said.
Choose the right school
What criteria do you look into when choosing a school for your child? It is the infrastructure or the number of toppers they produce? Raggett believes it is more important to find out if children are happy in the school. “The clues to look for are interactions where you’ve got the adults and children of that school together,” he suggested.
“If we are not developing our child’s desire to read then we are letting them down. Reading causes thinking. If you want your child to think then you get them to read,” the author said.